Sociology

PublisherThe Funambulist2016
This conversation addresses an important aspect of Merve Bedir’s work (along with Jason Hilgefort at Land+Civilization Compositions) regarding the architectural and linguistic dimension of Turkish politics regarding the 2.5 million refugees the country currently “hosts” — the very notions of “host” and “guest” are the first things discussed here. Through the description of several sites of either appropriation or dispossession/detention by and of refugee bodies in Istanbul and in other regions of Turkey, we try to think of the architect’s political role and responsibility, remembering however that we must always doubt of our own actions when they have such drastic consequences. Merve ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2017
This conversation was recorded with Hoda Katebi, the self-defined “sarcastic (& angry) Muslim-Iranian writer, photographer, and activist living in Chicago” behind the political fashion blog JooJoo Azad (“free bird” in Farsi) to be featured in The Funambulist 15 (Jan-Feb. 2018) Clothing Politics #2. In January 2017, a few days after the inauguration of the current U.S. President and the subsequent massive feminist protest, she wrote an article entitled “Please Keep Your American Flags Off My Hijab” about which we discuss in this interview, along with many other facets of her work with regards to clothing in relation to imperialism, capitalism ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
This podcast, recorded with the three founders of Demilit (Bryan Finoki, Nick Sowers, and Javier Arbona) is a precedent for Archipelago since it constitutes both a walk to examine the hyper controlled policed space of downtown Oakland and a receptacle for the echoes of Occupy Oakland that comes as interludes to our discussion. We observe objects and spaces that are produced by securitarian logic that often attempt to dissimulate their function by an aesthetic of the ordinary. Starting from Oakland City Hall where Occupy used to have its encampment, we spend the first part of the conversation around the administrative/corporate center of ...

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PublisherSALT2015
Becoming Istanbul is a critical dictionary exploring the problematics of Istanbul. Made up of 152 entries focusing on transformations to the city, clichés used by observers to evaluate these transformations, and commonplace complaints and conditions, Becoming Istanbul invites the reader to question and critique popular discourses. This collection of original writings, seeking to examine Istanbul from different perspectives, has brought together a diverse selection of writers, including architects, musicians, urban planners, orchestral conductors, activists, sociologists, economists, film critics, authors, museum directors, geographers, reporters, anthropologists and historians.

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PublisherThe Funambulist2018
This conversation with Francesca Russello Ammon is built around her book, Bulldozer: Demolition and Clearance of the Postwar Landscape (2016), which retraces the political history of the bulldozer by the United States during World War II (used in the Pacific War by the SeaBees) and immediately following it in the massive engineering of the U.S. territory in cities and between them. This discussion can act as an addition to the contents featured in The Funambulist 17 (May-June 2018) Weaponized Infrastructure. Francesca Russello Ammon is a cultural historian of urban planning and the built environment. Her research focuses on the social, material, and cultural life ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
This conversation with Alexander Weheliye is built upon the critique he made of the work of Giorgio Agamben, in particular in his essentialization of the muselmann in the context of the Holocaust. Alexander argues that slavery functions as a better paradigm to understand the “layering” of bare lives and the racial aspects that this understanding involves. He explains how he is interested in finding other ways to “claim humanity” than the traditional judicial one that attributes this status in a retroactive manner to suffering bodies. In order to do so, we evoke the works of major African-American and black Caribbean thinkers such as Hortense ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
This conversation with Hana Sleiman begins a series of several around the Palestinian question(s). After evoking her archiving work of historical Arabic comic books and their construction of a political imaginary, Hana and I talk about this important construction of a Palestinian Oral History Archive at the American University of Beirut. This archive comprises about a thousand hours of interview with Palestinian having experienced the 1948 Nakba and its evictive violence. We particularly insist on the embraced subjectivities of such narratives, stressing that what is remembered and how it is remembered is more important than the illusory ambition of an ...

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Publishercontinent2017
Like all collaborative endeavors, bringing together an edited collection is about fixing as much as gathering the insights and details (and yes, flaws and limits) of individually or jointly conceived pieces to bring about a larger conversational whole – a drawing forth, or drawing together, of scattered threads and pieces into something considerably messier than a quilt. All the more so when the collection is the result of a generative collaboration, bringing guest editors Lara Houston, Daniela K. Rosner, Steven J. Jackson in conversation with the continent. collective to present this special issue “R3pair Volume”. The conversation of course runs ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
Paris’s Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture (ESA) is 150 years old this year. For the last two years however, this association’s current director, François Bouvard, has imposed a pedagogy and internal politics that is perceived by most students and teachers as profoundly conservative, if not despotic. In the beginning of April 2015, the firing of nine (unionized) members of the school administration has triggered a strike followed by the overwhelming majority of students, as well as many teachers, demanding the director’s resignation, the re-hiring of the nine fired members of the association, as well as a significant shift in the school’s pedagogy. In this conversation, ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
For this podcast, I asked questions to Pamela Brown about the role of debt in American society and the way its very function has been historically affecting, and continues to affect the African-American community in particular. Debt should normally be understood as a mutually beneficial contract but has been transformed into yet another capitalist apparatus of profit making. It functions through an ideology of promise that ensures the conformity of life paths and the perpetuation in the future of the roles in the present society. Once the mechanisms that intertwines debt and race have been exposed, Pamela describes the work ...

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PublisherUrbanomic2018
Compiled by Philip Sanderson and mixed by DJ Huysmans, a mix made to accompany the Ballardian Breakfast Briefing virtual launch event for Applied Ballardianism.

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
Hana Tajima and I recently sat down to talk about one aspect of her work as a fashion designer. Some of the clothing she designs have the particularity to incorporate the hijab (islamic veil) that currently suffers from an absolute lack of discursive complexity and contextualization. Our conversation is organized in such a way that we first describe the hijab only in its physical characteristics, as “a piece of clothe.” Once we have a grasp at its objectal properties, we then proceed to intensify it with the symbolic and political position it carries voluntarily and involuntarily within a given context. ...

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Publishere-flux2017
Imagine a big roll call. Names of nations, creeds, and genders are called out. Everyone is supposed to join their kin. Several hours later the crowd is all divided up into groups and subgroups, all neatly arranged on a large grid. There is just one person left. And this person says, “Sorry guys, I’m with the universe. Where do I go?” The universe? It does not figure on the grid. Today, the most important question is not what belongs to whom but who belongs to what—as in what kind of group. Sameness trumps equality. Similarity beats solidarity. Reality is a battlefield. ...

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Publishere-flux2017
Revolutionaries are people who need to run around in circles. Revolution is a cycle of toppling and replacing, of killing God and building a Church, as Camus says. It is nothing if not intense. In “The Intense Life,” Tristan Garcia presents intensity as an ethical ideal peculiar to modernity. The pursuit of intensity moves through stages, from variation, to acceleration, to what Garcia calls “primaverism,” or the obsession with first experiences. In “Notes on Blacceleration,” Aria Dean locates an absence in the text of accelerationism: a decided failure to come to grips with the first experiences of accumulation, and in particular with ...

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Publishere-flux2018
A riddle: One night, an arresting officer enters a holding cell full of people. He asks the group what they were doing congregating on the public thoroughfare that morning. Why bring their bodies out from home to stand together on the sidewalk, walk together on the street? The officer seeks connection. Somewhere in the cell’s radius a commercial window had been smashed. Somewhere in the cell’s radius was a changing of the guards. Thinking for a moment that they can see each other, one of the arrested persons asks in return, “Well, don’t you think another world is possible?” What ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
Nick Caverly received me in Detroit a day after I arrived in the city whose population and economy has been drastically shrinking for the last decades and is now populated with a multitude of ruins and empty lots. We discuss about the governance of the city that is now piloted by an “Emergency Finance Manager,” who reduced public service to a worrisome level, mostly detrimental to the most impoverished populations of the city. We also talk of the newcomers in the city, the white “creative class,” which, despite a commendable optimism tends to develop an imaginary that omit the existence ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2013
Lucy and I start this conversation around the legal strategies at work in contemporary India. Between the eminent domain, legal reminiscence of the colonial era used by state-backed developers, and the immanent domain that informal settlements constitute for their own survival in the city, we discuss about how law and its spatial practices can be used as political strategies. We also evoke William Burroughs’s fictitious territory of the Interzone as the place of suspension of the law, the thickness of the diagrammatic line designed by legal architects, a liminal space where one can deliberately inhabit, but where others are forced into. Lucy completed ...

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Publisher0x0a2015
If there is one thing that deserves to be called “genuine internet literature,” then it is user generated erotica. Besides fan fiction, no other textual genre has thrived on the absence of editorial and moral oversight as much as written porn. Produced by millions of mostly anonymous amateur writers for no pay whatsoever, and harking back to the earliest days of the usenet, there is little that represents the spirit of the web more truthfully. For Erotica, I used Kimono to scrape one of the largest repositories of amateur erotic writing, literotica.com, in its entirety (10 million words, 52,000 lemmata). Removing all words that a Python script could identify ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2017
This conversation with Sara Farris was recorded on August 7, 2017 to be featured as a transcript in the 13th issue of The Funambulist Magazine (Sept-Oct. 2017), Queers, Feminists & Interiors. It attempts to link the work she presents in her book, In the Name of Women’s Rights: The Rise of Femonationalism (Duke University Press, 2017) with the violence against women that femonationalist discourses deliberately ignore (as these violences are exercised through what we could call “a universalist patriarchy”): domestic violence. The conversation first presents the political concept of femonationalism in the context of Europe, and then proceeds to describe the several dimensions ...

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Publishercontinent2017
What would a conversation with a piece of asbestos, or a piece of plastic stranded on the shore of the Schuylkill River be like? And how could a conversation transpire, between things and researchers and other things, if they landed in the same place and found for themselves a common language? Imprinted by Philadelphia’s singular industrial and technological history, the soils, water systems, and infrastructures of the Delaware Valley tell a story of the Anthropocene, the contentious and debated terminology for this “new” and anthropocentric geological era in which human activities have forever altered Earth’s ecosystems. For the Anthropocene Campus Philadelphia ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
This conversation is the first one of an Archipelago series in the Western Balkans. Recorded in Sarajevo with Selma Porobić, it introduces the historical context of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ethnic cleansing of the Bosniak population by the Serbian militias, and the 2 millions displaced people inside and outside the country. Twenty years after the Dayton Peace Agreements, many refugees have not yet returned, often because of local and regional strategies discouraging if not preventing this return. The second part of the conversation addresses the geographical position of the Western Balkans, at the gates of “Fortress Europe,” where many ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
This conversation with Karim Kattan introduces the art residency he recently created in Jericho. Entitled el-Atlal (the ruins), this residency allows us to discuss about the political strategy that this Palestinian cultural project intends to adopt and, beyond it, also the concept of ruin in Palestine, as well as this very particular place in the Jordan Valley, a “central margin” as Karim says, between Jerusalem and Amman and the Northern and Southern part of the country. Jericho is at a key moment of its extremely long history, experiencing urban and cultural developments that simultaneously allows it to foresee the future of Palestine and also threatens its fragile ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
Mimi Thi Nguyen is the first guest with whom I spoke twice for Archipelago (listen to our first conversation). This conversation was originally motivated by some unformulated concerns that I experienced during the campaign #bringbackourgirls in April-May 2014 in reaction to the rapt of 276 Nigerian young women by Boko Haram. I therefore meant to ask a few questions to Mimi, as well as converse with her about the crucial importance to formulate problems in ways that won’t make our questions legitimize that against what they want to challenge. The arguments we expose here emerged from Mimi’s long-documented research about supposedly ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
This conversation with Ana Dana Beroš — the last one of the Western Balkans series — addresses the two main migration routes to access “Fortress Europe,” the road through the Balkans, in particular through Croatia from where we recorded it, as well as the road through the Mediterranean Sea. We begin by describing the current means undertaken in Croatia in order to facilitate the route of refugees, as well as the obstacles encountered. In the second part of the conversation, we use Intermundia, the exhibition/book curated last year by Ana Dana to address the status of the Italian island of Lampedusa, considered as ...

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Publisher0x0a2014
Thousands of online dating profiles from the web were parsed, matched according to four questions and sorted in alphabetical order. Who am I? Where do I come from? What is my purpose in Life and what happens when I die? For centuries people have tried to come up with answers regarding the fundamental questions of life. Then the internet was invented and these questions have finally been answered – by users. The book The Fundamental Questions captures them in an inspiring record of epic proportions where every individual verse becomes a mantra of a mind-expanding collective thought. It reminds us, that one single ...

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